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Mr. Perez 28, Us 17, Alexander 17, America 16, Dr. Moniz 12, New York 11, Harkin 10, United States 10, Tom Perez 9, Oregon 7, Pearce 7, Nlrb 7, U.s. 6, Schumer 6, Buffalo 6, Dr. Ernest Moniz 5, Pittsburgh 5, Dorgan 5, Kennedy 5, Maryland 4,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    May 16, 2013
    9:00 - 12:01pm EDT  

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what. and every camera is a cell phone. but while today, change to do that, is no doubt somber. and there's really no other way of getting around that. there is a way, another way of looking at all of this. that isn't quite so sad. i know a lot of journalists. i spent all my time basically with foreign correspondents in the field living and breathing the act of newsgathering. and none of them could think of doing anything else. they don't know how to do anything else. they don't want to do anything else, and the people we are talking about today died doing what they loved. anthony loves the middle east. marie loved reporting to she lit up whenever she was on the story, and they died in their element. not at a desk behind a computer. they died in the line of duty with their boots on, their pencils in hand, and they should be remembered and celebra ad
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honored for that. so thank you very much. [applause] >> grouthe 88 individuals we one today were brought together in the fellowship, none of them would have chosen. a fellowship created by their commitment, their courage, and ultimately their sacrifice. they spoke different languages. they work in different spheres of newsgathering. some of them were known to millions on the nightly news. some of them work in anonymity.
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some reported from the own communities. some of them were on assignment far away from home. some of them knew of the impending danger, but some of them were surprised. the common thread that united all of them was their commitment to journalism and the fact that they left us all too soon. if a journalists mission is to try -- shine light in places where there is darkness, then let the light that emanates from this memorial be a testament to these 88 of journalists, and the 2156 others whose company they join today. we will never forget them. in their memory him and in support of journalists working in dangerous places and in difficult situations all over the world, i will now read the 88 names of our colleagues who lost their lives, and the
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countries from where they reported. in bahrain on committed this mail hassan. in bangladesh, jamal. in belgium, michael cornette. in brazil, ezekiel. eduardo. luis. mario lopez.
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paolo alberto. in cambodia peng. in colombia. in ecuador, byron. in egypt. in india, righ.
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in indonesia. doty. ishmaeti. dedrick. in iran tsar.
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in iraq. in lebanon, ali sahaban. in mexico, adrian silva marano. >> in nepal, yasaf. >> in nigeria, initchi. in pakistan ramadal.
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abdul. in the philippines, christopher. in russia, cas kazbeck. >> in somalia ali ahmed.
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hosan josef. arahmed.
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in south sudan, isaiah being abraham. in syria, ali abbas. [bell ringing]
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[bell ringing] [bell ringing]
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[bell ringing] marie colvin. [bell ringing]
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[bell ringing] [bell ringing] in tanzania. in thailand. in 1937, in china, sandro sandy.
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>> in 1969, in vietnam -- [bell ringing] in 1983 in the united kingdom, philip. in 1991 in the united states, barton edward smith. in 1993 in south africa, charlotte dolan. in 2001 in ireland, austin finn. may we have a moment of silence for these brave men and women.
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thank you very much. >> this concludes our ceremony this morning. we thank you all very much for joining us today. richard, we thank you especially for your very gracious and inspiring words. we ask now that you please allow a few moments for the family members here to place roses in front of the memorial in honor of their loved ones. thank you. >> we are live on capitol hill this morning and the dirksen bennett office building.
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the senate health, education, labor and pensions committee is only a confirmation vote on president obama's pick for labor secretary, tom perez. is currently the justice department assistant attorney general for several rights. is been criticized by republican lawmakers for his role in the supreme court ruling on civil rights law. iowa democrat tom harkin chairs the hearing. tennessee's lamar alexander is the top republican. we expect this to get underway in just a moment. live coverage here on c-span2. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> once again live on capitol hill as we await the start of the senate confirmation hearing and votes on president obama's pick for labor secretary, tom perez. right now holding the position in the justice department as the assistant attorney general for civil rights. we expect this to start in just a moment. very quickly, the u.s. house
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will be gaveling in this morning at kennedy. business will get underway at noon eastern. members will take a vote to fully repeal the nation's health care law. this would be the 37th attempt to repeal obamacare. you can see live coverage of that debate and vote on our companion network c-span beginning at noon eastern. the senate begins their day at 11 eastern. lawmakers are expected to debate the nomination of energy secretary nominee. vote on the nomination expected at 2 p.m. eastern. you can see the senate live writer on c-span2 when the gavel and again at 11 eastern today. [inaudible conversations]
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>> [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> group again we're just moments away from the start of a senate confirmation hearing and vote on labor secretary tom perez. very quickly, the ap reporting today the nation's top defense leaders have been summoned to the white house to talk about the military's sexual assault crisis. women in uniform are losing confidence the problem will be solved. mr. obama planned a meeting today. defense secretary chuck hagel and members of the joint chiefs of staff is sectors of all the service branches. >> today, we are meeting at this time to consider the nomination of thomas perez to be secretary
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of labor. i'll have an opening statement. i will yield to senator alexander, and then we'll see if there's any further debate. our consideration of this nominee -- domination can be more time or import answer continues to move down the road economic recovery now more than ever we need strong leadership of the department of labor to help strengthen our fragile recovery and build a stronger revitalized american middle class. without question, tom perez has the knowledge and experience needed to guide is critically important agency. he has professional experiences and especially his work as secretary of the maryland department of labor licensing and regulation. he has developed strong policy expertise about the many important issues for american workers and businesses that come before the department of labor every day. he also cleared has the management skills to run a large federal agency effectively. perhaps most importantly, tom perez knows how to bring people together to make progress on
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even controversial issues without burning any bridges. he knows how to hit the ground running, quickly and effectively become an agent of real change, and that's exactly the kind of leadership we need at the department of labor. beyond the strong professional qualifications, it is clear that tom perez's personal character makes him the right choice to hold this important position. mr. perez is dedicated his life to making sure that every american has a fair opportunity to pursue the american dream. as the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the department of justice, he has helped more americans achieve the dream of homeownership to his unprecedented efforts to prevent residential lending discrimination. he has helped ensure that people with disabilities have the choice to live in their own homes and communities rather than in institutional settings. and to receive the supports and services to make this independent living possible.
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he has stepped up to the departments effort to protect the employment rights of service members so that our men and women in uniform can return to their jobs to support their families after serving our country. tom perez is passionate about these issues. he is passionate about justice and about fairness. we need this kind of passion and of this kind of vision at the helm of the department of labor. mr. perez has been as open and above board as he possibly be with this committee. he has met with any member personally who requested a meeting. he acted before the committee and a public hearing. he has answered more than 200 written questions. he bent over backward to respond to any and all concerns raised about his work at the department of justice. this administration has also been extraordinarily accommodating to my colleagues, especially to their concerns about mr. perez is handling of cases while at the department of
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justice. the administration has produced thousands of documents. never range for the editor of government employees. that facilitate almost unprecedented levels of disclosure to alleviate any concerns. as chairman, i've also tried to be as accommodating as possible, joining any request for documents that i, quite frankly, thought were unnecessary. and also postponing this executive session for two weeks at the request of our ranking member, to provide members additional time for consideration. i was disappointed that after that, we were then forced to delay yet again for an additional week due to the invocation of an obscure procedural senate rule. again, that delay was not a legitimate effort to ensure that this committee can do its duty to consider the nomination it was just delayed for delays sick. this point of obstructionism is extremely disturbing. it's a big part of wha why the people of this nation are so frustrated with the senate right
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now. when all of the attacks and political tactics are set aside, all this lengthy consideration process has revealed is that mr. perez acted at all times ethically and appropriately to advance the interests of the united states government. outside ethics, experts have confirmed this. so i would like to cement for the record letters and statements from several legal ethics experts and experts in the false claims act confirming that mr. perez's handling of the cases were both ethical and appropriate. so i hope that all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, after all this investigation and all the information that has been made public can join us in supporting this important nomination. i will now turn to senator alexander for his opening remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, thanks to holding this markup for mr. perez. nomination of mr. perez.
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i will oppose voting trend for out of the health committee for two recent. nebo, my review of his record has raised troubling questions about his actions will at the department of justice and iskander and discussing these actions with this committee. and number two, congressional committees have asked for relevant and specific information that has not been provided yet by the nominee or the administration. to preserve a favorite legal theory, mr. perez orchestrate a quid pro quo arrangement between the department of justice and the city of st. paul in which the department agreed to drop two cases in exchange for the city withdrawing a case the magner case, from the spring for. mr. perez's involved in this field seems to me to be a next-door the amount of winning and getting outside the normal responsibilities of the assistant attorney general for civil rights. to obtain his desired results, mr. perez reached outside of the civil rights division at justice into the civil division come into the minnesota u.s. attorney's office and into the department of housing and urban
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development. this exchange cost u.s. taxpayers the opportunity potential to recover millions of dollars and more importantly violated the trust whistleblowers place in the federal government. his custom has been contradicted by testimony of other witnesses and contemporaneous documents. in short, it seems to me mr. perez did not discharge the duty owed to the government to try to collect the money owed to taxpayers. he did not discharge his duties to protect the whistleblower who was left hanging in the wing. at the same time he was in italy the legal process to remove a case from the supreme court in a way that seems inappropriate for the assistant attorney general of the united states. mr. perez's use of private e-mail accounts delete nonpublic information is currently being investigated. senator burr has made a request he may want to talk about that. it involves e-mail sent from mr. perez's personal e-mail account to "new york times" reporter 15 minutes after a set of was reached between the department
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of justice and countrywide concerning lending discrimination allegations. in my written questions to mr. perez following his confirmation hearing, i asked him specifically about what he personally solicited support for his nomination from group from companies he might regulate if he were to be the secretary. he has yet to provide a direct answer to that simple question. this is particularly concerning in light of the current abuses of power we are seeing in this administration of the same sort. on may 8, chairman issa and ranking never cummings, democratic ranking member cummings sent a request to mr. perez to produce all of his personal e-mail to guarding official department of justice business. on may 14, the department gave house oversight committee staff the opportunity to review the date and other e-mails. however, the text of e-mails was redacted. and the subject line. producing depleted redacted
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e-mails can't be considered responsive. the department of justice inspector general recently published a detailed report that discussed problems in the voting rights section. it talked about a politically charged atmosphere and polarization. .. members nominated and considered by the senate within a reasonable period of time.
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the senate has a duty of advice and consent and we would not be fulfilling our constitutional duties if we rush to vote on mr. perez. the president knew when he appointed mr. perez that congress was investigating his involvement in to brokering the quid pro quo deal in st. paul, minn.. one other thing, in terms of whether there has been delay, i would include when the record, if i may, an article from the washington post of march 18th, six seven weeks ago, and president obama's second term nominees and confirmation than the last three presidents and according to the congressional research service cavs average of 55 days through george bush's second term nominees, sixty-eight days for clinton's and 56 days for ronald reagan's, mr. perez has been before the senate 60 days since the
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announcement. that seems to be reasonable time to consider the information we have asked for and if the word to apply a personal stand and i can remember the case of a well qualified governor who was nominated for united states secretary of education 21 years ago and it took 87 days for this committee and the senate to consider is qualifications to be secretary of education. and all we don't know yet i believe it is premature to report his nomination for that reason, i will be voting no. >> mr. chairman. for just a point for two minutes because i'm the only one here -- i am the only one here who actually knows mr. perez. mr. chairman and colleagues, i really hope we move the perez
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nomination to the full senate and let the full senate decide whether he has the qualifications necessary to lead the department of labor during a time when the country is in tremendous economic transition. for a substantial amount of time and many are often nominated in positions went in the government but i know tom as a community leader, i know tom as the county councilman, as a leader of a state agency charged with actually running labor and licensing and over the justice department. i just want to say this. we would have a fine nominee. he has the compelling personal narrative. the second generation of immigrant families, he brings those wonderful values, he actually believed in america and the leaves in america's promise and the department of labour
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would be part of the opportunity ladder to help people be middle-class, to either stay there or do better. second it is not what barbara mikulski says about how he stood up to predatory lenders or functions in terms of insuring failed labor practices. i would conclude my remarks by thearyland chamberf commerce. and typical -- chamber of commerce, absolutely 100% chamber of commerce and they said this. mr. perez proved himself a pragmatic public official who was going to bring different voices together. the maryland chamber had the opportunity to work on and a ray of issues of importance to employers and the business community in maryland from unemployment housing and foreclosure crisis, regulation of financial institutions, worker safety and professional
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licensing. despite differences of opinion mr. perez was always willing to allow all parties to be heard. we found him to be fair and collaborative. we believe our experience in maryland would bode well for the nation. i hope we move the nomination forward. >> further debate, mr. chairman? >> you can be recognized and i can count so i know the outcome of this election. i feel compelled to just note for my colleagues that when mr. perez was here for his confirmation hearings, i probed a setion that dealt with disclosure of nonpublic information, disclosures that i thought was rather significant because it potentially could move markets and as the ranking member said, it dealt with the decision accompanied by the name
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of countrywide, a decision that came through late one night, 10:45 p.m. and exchange on a private e-mail with a new york times reporter at 11:00 p.m. 15 minutes after the decision and a day before any public disclosure by the justice department. many medications i walk away and form a conclusion from that but i don't stop there. i sent a letter to the public affairs department at the department of justice and let me just recap partially what i said in the letter. during a recent senate hearing assistant attorney general thomas e. perez was questioned about his personal e-mail's to disclose nonpublic information. the e-mail in question read, quote, just closed a deal 15 announce tomorrow at 3:00. mr. perez stated, quote, i don't
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believe that that was non-public information, me advisories often go out the day before. so i asked the office of public affairs to provide a copy of the press release statement announcing the countrywide settlement deal including information of the date and time of its release, information on any public disclosures prior to the official country wide settlement announcement including the substance, time and date of that contact. detailed description and timeline of the office of public affairs participation in the country wide settlement announcement before, during and after the settlement. furthermore was the office of public affairs aware that mr. perez disclosed the outcome to the new york times or other media. my last paragraph said this, as a general matter please inform my office as to whether or not this is a common practice with the department of justice, decisions communicated through
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personal e-mail or back channel processors before an offical announcement but it is indeed common practice, is it indeed, in practice as in simulated by mr. perez in his heg? would like to ask the office of public affairs to other instances whe happened to the department of justice. that was in the week following his confirmation hearings. as of today i have not gotten a response from the office of public affairs. there are legitimate things out there. i personally don't believe disclosing non-public information to a new york times reported 15 minutes after a decision has been made at 11:00 at night. is one ethical or appropriate? therefore today, i vote against this nomination and hope that my colleagues will understand the
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seriousness of any disclosure of nonpublic information that might have an effect on moving the equity markets like this could. i think the chair. >> i thank the senator. i am constrained to respond and to rebut this contention. as we look at this and my staff looked at it and went through it, we found this. in fact the department of justice office of public affairs already provided notice to reporters, an announcement regarding the countryside investigation would occur the following day, something routine with respect to high-profile cases and when mr. perez responded to a reporter's inquiry he merely confirmed what the office of public affairs had been telling the press, at a press conference the next day without providing substantive information, let's get this clear, on december 20th, the office of public affairs alerted reporters to the upcoming
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announcement for scheduling purposes, news of the likely settlement appeared in articles on the 20th, that they bloomberg release the story headlined banc of america hit close to settling the countryside. and the deal between banc of america and department of justice could be announced as early as this week, the story says the parties werey in negotiations and on the verge of the claims settled. the department of justice declined to comment on that story. that night, december 20th, a new york times reported e-mail perez about the likely settlement. because he understood the office of public affairs had begun to inform reporters an announcement would be made the next day, in an e-mail at 11:13 p.m. perez responded that a press officer, quote, was supposed to call that reporters late today and confirm that an announcement would
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occur. mr. perez did not provide or communicate to the reporter any substantive information about the content of the settlement or any other details. the new york times reported did not publish a news article about the matter, prior to the press conference regarding the settlement. at 10:23, december 21st, 2011, bank of america notified the national community a settlement for $300 million would be announced making the amount of the settlement public. and approximately noon the official press advisor in went out, those are the facts. is there further debate on this nomination? if there is no further debate on the nomination, then all those in favor of reporting this nomination favorably to the senate floor will say aye. could we have a roll call?
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roll-call vote has been requested. clerk will please call the roll. [roll call vote] [roll call vote] [roll call vote]
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[roll call vote] >> how about the chairman? do i get a vote? [laughter] >> we have 12 is. >> say that again. >> there being 12 is and ten nays the nomination of tom perez to be the new secretary of labor is reported favorably from this committee to the floor of the senate. if there was no other nominee? there is no other executive session business before the committee. i thank everyone for being here and providing a quorum, we will now adjourn the committee but we will resume our sitting at 10:00 for denominations of the national labor relations board and the members who will be here at that time so we will resume sitting at 10:00.
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i think everyone. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> the committee has confirmed tom perez, he was criticized for his role in its supreme court ruling on civil rights. the vote today was along party lines 12-10. it now goes to the full senate for their consideration. in just a couple of minutes the committee is expected to move on to nlrb nominations and we will have live coverage when they resume in ten minutes from now. the senate itself will begin their day at 11:00 eastern. lawmakers expect to debate the nomination of president obama's energy secretary nominee, votes on the nomination expected at 2:00 eastern. after that the senate will move on to the farm bill. the house agriculture committee debated its version of the farm bill yesterday, while this break is under way we will show you a portion of that. >> response to the gentleman from iowa's concerns.
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every point he has raised i don't question whether it is a legitimate point or not but clearly these are points that should be examined and should be done with the hearing. every other area, we have questions about the effect that impact programs we have a hearing. we have not had hearings on this, yet and still the basis for these cuts is not based upon any analytical information of what is good or bad for the american people but more or less trying to get a figure for deficit reform on the backs of those people who need our help. $20 billion? folks, that is an awful lot of money. do we know what impact that is going to have on one of the fastest-growing class of
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recipients of food stamps? you know who they are? our veterans. 1.five million. are we doing them right with how that least examining? what is the impact of this going to be? 80%. of the food stamp recipients are children and seniors. fixed incomes. $20 million without any analytical time or study put in. what is this going to do? and you talk about deficit cutting, you talk about that, you talk about waste, you talk about fraud. you want to talk about fraud? look your defense contracts. you all know the story of
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contracts in afghanistan and iraq, waste and abuse is the highest there. have we looked at that? it is not on the banks here. we are going to fight this, we are going to fight it in this committee, we are going to fight it on the floor, we are going to fight it in conference, we are going to bring some justice and clarity and fairness to the american people on this subject. and when you look at the fact -- i want to bring this to your attention. we are talking about cutting $20 billion here. when the commission on wartime contract think in iraq and afghanistan found between $30 billion and $60 billion
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directly in waste and fraud and abuse and that was at their august of 2011 final report. why this program? why are we looking so casually, at $20 billion, taking food out of some of the mouth of our veterans but ladies and gentlemen of this committee, i know you are going to pass this, as my good friend representative mcderon pointed out, does it matter to you that with this $20 billion cut that there will be over 2.5 million poor children losing benefits? this is everybody. of every race, every creed,
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every color in this country. under knows no color. all of our people, urban, rural call all over this country, are going hungry this day and on this day here we are, wanting to cut $20 billion. i hope we get as many votes, many of you will examine more carefully how badly this makes our nation look. >> the gentleman yields back. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i know from my wife and i who
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have been involved personally in the issue of hunger and world poverty our entire adult lives i don't think this issue divides by dollars, it is some ideology and the best way to fight poverty. would get missed in this debate is the real numbers and the facts. poverty has gone up from 2008 to 2011. poverty in america by 16.1%. at the same time funding has gone up 119% and in fact in 2010 there are forty-six million americans living in poverty but in 2011 poverty went down. and 1 funded thousand fewer people in poverty in 2011 and in
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2010 poverty went down. snap went between 2010 and 2011 by 10%. over $7 billion in one year. at $2 billion cut per year which this bill does rolled it back to the previous number when poverty levels were higher. you get to the point that we are spending more and more money, poverty has gone down a little bit, is money the solution? it has oregon down a little bit. in 2009 the height of the recession, unemployment in this country was 10.1%. today it is 7.6%. we are spending $82.4 billion on snap. unemployment has gone down by five million people. in 2009 the height of the recession weaver spending $56 billion. snap has gone up $30 billion and unemployment has gone down.
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in 2012, snap is twice as much money as the department of homeland security. it is three times what we're spending in the department of justice and seven times will we are spending in the department of the interior. we want to make this issue about the money. this nation, its government has been committed to feeding its hungry and we ought to in its good and right and it is just. it is also good and right and just that we as a fiduciary of the taxpayers who are paying those dollars that were overseeing them in a way that is truly balanced. we can make the argument based on sheer numbers, that we have been extraordinarily generous and the fiduciary responsibility, a little bit to recognize the reducing number of
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poverty, and continue to meet the needs of the poor. i want starving children to eat. my family and i are committed to this for our whole adult lives. i weep for children and families who don't have food to eat. the best way to get children and families out of poverty is to make sure moms and dads have high-paying jobs, if we spend half as much time focusing and growing our economy performing our tax code and the friction points that caused us to be in this place, and poverty were driven and built into our system, coming out of members of congress and presidents of the united states for 30 years. we should be looking to remove those rich in points so moms and dads have high-paying jobs. this debate wouldn't matter. it does matter, it does matter
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but i don't think the reforms in the bill are wrong. i believe they are just. i would encourage my colleagues to oppose the amendment. and i yield back. >> debate on the house version of the farm bill yesterday. the senate reached agreement to take up the farm bill next and we will have live coverage is under way. today lawmakers will debate president obama's nominee for energy secretary. a vote on the nomination expected at 2:00 eastern. live coverage starting at 11:00 eastern this morning on c-span2. live on capitol hill the senate health education labor and pensions committee has confirmed president obama's pick for labor secretary tom perez, a party-line vote 12-10 and now goes to the full senate for their consideration. the committee right now is in the midst of a break having confirmed mr. perez. up next there will be debate and vote on national labor relations
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board nominations. we will have live coverage on c-span2. the u.s. house is just gaveling in, legislative business will start at noon eastern. members will take up a vote to pull the repeals the nation's health care law and this would be the 37 attempt to repeal obamacare. live coverage of that debate and vote on companion network c-span. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> the senate committee on health education labor tensions will come to order. the hearing this morning is on the nominations for the national labor relations board. 75 years ago congress enacted the national labor relations act giving american workers the
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right to form angelina a union and bargain for a better life. for both union and nonunion workers alike the act provides ease tension protections, gives workers a voice and the ability to join together and speak up for fair wages and good benefits and safe working conditions. these rights to one of the pillars of our middle class, people who do the real work in this country see the benefits when the economy grows. the national labor relations board is the guardian of these fundamental rights. what few people understand or realize is workers themselves cannot enforce the national labor relations act. the board is the only place workers can go if they have been treated unfairly and denied basic protection that the law provides. the board plays a critical in vindicating workers' rights. in the past ten years the nlrb has secured opportunities of reinstatement for 22,544 employees who were unfairly
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fired. it also recovered $1 billion on behalf of workers whose rights were violated. the board is just as essentials for our nation's employers. if an employer for example is the victim of a wildcat strike or in negotiations with the union and can't get to the union to bargain in good faith the board is their only recourse. the nlrb has helped numerous businesses resolve disputes efficiently. because this agency is absolutely critical to the economy and our country and the middle class is deeply disappointing to see what has happened to the board in recent years including the relentless political attacks in toward by the dedicated public servants who work on the board. to put it plainly there are many elected officials who are actively trying to shut the nlrb down. in 2011 when the agency needed new board members to satisfy its quorum requirements instead of
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working together to confirm a bipartisan package of well qualified nominees some senators publicly announced their intention to block any nomination to the nlrb. in all well-publicized statement one of my colleagues on the other side of the house said he would filibuster even if this cause the agency to cease functioning altogether and he said, quote, the nlrb is as inoperable could be considered progress. it didn't used to be this way. we use to understand and acknowledge members of the board had differing views, differing ideological perspective as put all of us agreed the board itself should function for the good of our country and our economy. but in recent years that shared understanding has broken down. the board has not had five senate confirmed members in a decade, in a decade. in my view that speaks more to our dysfunction in the senate than anything the board itself
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has done. what most concerns me is how this political game playing is impacting the everyday's working people across america. whether it is the relentless filibustering of nominees that prevents the board from having a quorum for ceaseless litigation that delays and denies justice these attacks on the board have real consequences for real people. be litigation surrounding president obama's recess appointments has impacted countless working americans. real people. people like marcus hedger, for printing pressman from illinois. mark has worked for printing company for nine years serving as union steward for most of his time there. in 2010 when the company was about to be sold the owners crackdown hard on markets for his role in collective bargaining negotiations. marcus was fired. unanimous bipartisan panel of the nlrb key german din september of 2012 that marcus
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was unlawfully fired and ordered that he be reinstated with back pay. but the company appealed that decision to the u.s. court of appeals of the d.c. circuit and in january that case was delayed due to the recess appointment litigation, leaving markets without any recourse. almost three years since his claim was filed with the board markets is still looking for justice. doesn't have his job back and the only job he could find pays only 1-third as much as his previous one. because of this financial hardship marcus just lost his home to foreclosure. real-life consequences. this wasn't just any home, it was his dream home, the family saved for their entire lives. his life, the american dream is lost through no fault of his own because the system is broken and put protect his rights. let's be clear about why marcus was fired.
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he was fired for participating in collective bargaining, a process our nation's laws protect and encourage. i have often quoted from the national labor relations act on this point and will do so again. the act states and i quote, this is the law, it is declared to be the policy of the united states to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate these obstructions when they have occurred by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and by protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self organization and designation that representatives of their own choosing for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection. so the national labor relations
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act doesn't just set up the parameters. they actually say encourage, to encourage the practice and procedures of collective bargaining. i am proud to be a citizen of a company that encourages collective bargaining. if my colleagues don't share this view they should be honest about their intentions and try to repeal the national labor relations act. that would be much more appropriate than constantly using procedural tricks for political obstructionism and budget game playing to try to destroy the agency's ability to do the job that is required by law to do. three people sitting before us today have been dedicated and fulfilling the duties they have been sworn to carry on as members of the board. despite constant political interference and even personal attacks, the other two nominees before us today have commendably accepted the presence called to serve and are eager to join the board even in these tumultuous
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times. these five well qualified candidates for the national labor relations board. they come from diverse backgrounds but all are deeply steeped in labor or employment law as would bring rich experience to the board. it cannot be disputed that this is a highly skilled, competent and experienced panel of labour or employment law experts. they deserve to be confirmed, they should be confirmed. a letter i recently received from 30 to management side labor attorneys across the country made this point better than i can. it urged the swift confirmation of the full package of five nominees and said we differ in our views over the decisions and actions of the nlrb over the years, we do agree our clients's interests are best served by the stability and certainty is that a full confirmed board will bring to the field of labour management. i couldn't agree more. i was heartened to hear my good
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friend and ranking member senator alexander stated on the floor of the senate that he wants to confirm a full package of board nominees. i would like to work again with senator alexander to get the job done so we have a five member board. i hope we can put a lot of this stuff behind us, have a good hearing, ask questions and get things on the record and confirm a full package of five eminently qualified individuals to be members of the national labor relations board. with that i recognize senator alexander. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i look forward to this hearing with the five nominees and thank them for their willingness to serve. it is important to have a fully confirm national labor relations board. this agency is charged with creating stability for employees, employers and unions around america's business of focus around succeeding and growing but there's a troubling lack of respect for the
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constitutional separation of powers and for the senate's role of advice and consent that is standing in the way of this confirmation process. the constitution laid out a balance of power the worked pretty well and pretty much as the founders intended for 227 years. article i of the constitution made as different from most governments at the time. most of our founders, not all gloom but most of them did not want a caned. to ensure that we did not have a king, our country had a congress and clear powers were granted to congress which could not be abrogated. the clearest curb on the power of what mark or the power of an executive in our constitution article i of the constitution creating a the congress and the bill of rights. article number wrote -- article ii he enumerate the powers of the presidency and recognize the
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practical reality of the day, long congressional recesses. one of the powers reserved for the senate is the best known authority of this body, that is article ii section 2 requiring the senate to consent to the appointment of ambassadors, public ministers, councils and other officers. we do that for a thousand of the president's nominees in each of the last week to congresses we worked in a bipartisan way to make it easier for the president to make the nominations that the senate considers them in a reasonable period of time. the founders anticipated there would be periods of time when the senate and house would not be in session and the senate would not be able to consent to such appointments so they put into the constitution provision saying during these times the president could make a recess appointment for, quote, vacancies that may happen during a senate recess. at the beginning of this it was important. in those days there were long extended periods of time between the annual sessions of congress.
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members of congress were spread all over the country. senator sam houston of texas had to go from texas to new orleans, get on a boat, ride a horse, take a stagecoach, get here, take the same route home. it was envisioned during the time senators were gone the president could make recess appointments. some may wonder why we still have recess appointments with modern communications and modern travel but it is still there in the constitution. president obama on january 4th, 2012, acted as though it weren't there at all. the president made recess appointments while the senate was not in recess. this is unprecedented, never been done. it was done during a time when the senate majority leader, senator harry reid, had proposed a resolution where the senate unanimously adopted, said the senate was in session and would convene every three days.
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overtime the presidents have expanded their use of recess appointment power yet no one has gone as far as president obama did on that day. the senate must decide what we are in session, not the president. if it were otherwise there would be no point to having advice and consent power in the constitution at all. the president appoints officials any time he wished. the senate could return from lunch and fighters a new supreme court justice. on january 4th, the president made three appointments to the national labor relations board. two are still there. they have told me, had good meetings, they felt obligated to stay in their positions, those two members. the papers are mixed up here. let me see here. pardon me, mr. chairman. ..
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>> that the president had made recess appointments when there was no recess. that court holds a special place in american judicial system because all nlrb decisions may be appealed to there, and many are. therefore, all cases in which these nominees have participated or will participate may also be vacated. if their votes provided the board with the necessary quorum. since the so-called recess appointees were sworn in, the nlrb has issued 910 published and unpublished decisions, 206 after the note indicates which
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is the case except. all of these can be appealed to the d.c. circuit and vacated. i have met with each of the nominees before us today. i do not question their qualifications. they all have distinguished backgrounds. i know that ms. block, mr. griffin feel obligated to stay in those positions after preeminent court ruled they were and validly important -- appointed. i appreciate her candor and their dedication to public service. my problem is not with the publication. my problem is that they continue to decide cases. after the federal appellate court unanimously decided they were unconstitutionally appointed. not only has the president showed a lack of respect for the constitutional role of separation of powers and the curve on executive branch of that article one provides but i believe these two individuals have as well. this is a part of a disturbing pattern of end run around the congress. whether it's more czars than the roman op-ed for executive order
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that stretched the limits of executive authority, or using waiver authority to create an effect a national school board or the secretary of health raising money privately for private organizations to do what congress has refused to do, or whether it's recess appointment when there is no recess. it's important for our country's liberties to protect the separation of powers, therefore, i cannot support the nominations of these do. i also believe their decision to stay on creates enormous opportunity for confusion and waste. i agree we want certainty. the best way to certainly is have five confirmed members of the board. the president could nominate two equally qualified members who did not sit on the nlrb when a court had decided they were unconstitutionally there. i don't have the same problem with the three other nominees here today, chairman pearce,
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trigonometry through the regular process. and the best way for the president to ensure certainty is to nominate two well-qualified individuals who did not continue to cite cases after the court said they were unconstitutionally appointed. if he does i will pledge to work with the chairman for their speedy confirmation. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator alexander. first of all, i recognize senator alexander for purposes of this introduction. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm pleased to introduce a distinguished nominee. is currently part in the labor and employment group of morgan, lewis in chicago where he has been since 2005. a senior fellow at the wharton school of business. he received his ba from the can, j.d. from the pennsylvania law school. i met with him as a have the other nominees.
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i find him to be knowledgeable about our system. is written entire books about the nlrb. i'm glad to present him to the committee. >> thank you, senator alexander. i recognize senator murphy for purposes of an introduction. >> thank you very much, chairman harken, ranking member alexander, for letting introduce a dedicated public servant and very capable of the and rb, sharon block is a current board member who has dedicated her life to public service or just serve with integrity as a board members since january 2012. increases that she served as deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs for the department of labor and is a senior labor and employment council for this committee where she worked for senator kennedy. ms. block has also served as a senior attorney to chairman robert batiste at the national labor relations board from 94-86 use assistant general counsel of the national endowment for the
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humanities. after receiving her degree from georgetown university law center where she won the john f. kennedy labor law toward. ms. block grew up in westport, connecticut, and her parents who i believe are here today still reside in connecticut. we are very proud of the work that she has done, and america's workers and businesses are telling us to make sure she continues this important work as a board member at the nlrb. thank you, mr. chairman for allowing me to introduce ms. block before the committee today. >> thank you, senator murphy. and now i recognize senator warren for purposes of an introduction. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's my pleasure to introduce richard griffin, jr., who served on the nlrb since january 2012. richard is a law school graduate of eastern university in boston, and for 28 years he has worked with the international union of operating engineers. 17 of those years he has spent as their general counsel. the operating engineers have a
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special place in my heart of my big brother operator and a crane and was a member of the union. i have had a chance to meet many of their members. they are honest people, hard workers who have literally helped build our country. as counsel, mr. griffin has helped clean up the union and a served as a trustee for the central pension fund to assure the retirement security of over 100,000 participants, including my brother. thank you. he as also had extensive experience working with counsel to the in ellerbe. he served both democratic board member john fanning and president reagan's appointee, republican chairman dotson. we are pleased to have here today with us and share your testimony, and we're very pleased to welcome your wife and your daughter, who i understand are also with you. so thank you very much for being
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with you. massachusetts is proud of you, and we look forward to your testimony today, and your service on the nlrb. >> thank you very much senator warren. i would like to call to table our former colleague and good friend, senator byron dorgan, former senator iran dorgan from north dakota for the purposes of an introduction. senator dorgan, welcome back to the senate. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. members of the committee it's nice to be here. nice to see all of you. i'll be mercifully brief. i know you have five nominees and have already had an of hearing earlier this morning. i was just thinking as i was sitting here, with all the difficulty of nominations, it is certainly enormously hopeful sign when the country calls people come to these tables and say, i'll serve. that is the case in this morning. i'm here to introduce a friend and colleague named harry johnson. and harry is someone who has a distinguished record he's a native virginian. he's a friend.
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he is a harvard graduate, a very distinguished career in the law in california working for eric fox, and i've had the opportunity to work with him and know him well, and commend him to you. he is smart, honest, experienc experienced. i'm convinced he will make a very positive contribution to this board. and it seems to me that when you put someone who is both serious and thoughtful on a board like this at this time, it certainly will help, not hurt. the workings of the board. if i might make just one additional comment. our country is blessed, i think, that over time when the question is asked, who will lead, that there are always people to stand up in this country and say, i will lead him an answer that call. harry johnson is one of them. families often packed up,
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including their children and the belongings, and move halfway across the country to serve their country. that's the case today with harry johnson. he is an awfully good choice. i'm proud that the president has asked him to serve. proud he has volunteered to serve, and hope that he will have a very strong support among the committee members this morning. mr. chairman, thank you very much. >> senator dorgan, thank you very much for being here, for that introduction and, of course, you are always welcome to appear before this committee. on this or anything else. so thank you very much for being here, senator dorgan. senator schumer was going to be here for the purposes of introduction of our chip in but i think he is tied up in the -- in the immigration hearing, and the judiciary. so mr. pearce, don't mind, i will take mr. schumer's place and introduce our chip in. mark gaston pearce is going to chairman of the national labor relations board, has served as a
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member of nlrb since march 2010. formally a founding partner at creighton pearce johnson and thoreau, chairman pearce has been in the practice of labor and will offer more than three decades. at the start of this great chairman pearce work as a field attorney and later district trial specialist for region three of the national labor relations board. all, senator schumer has come. [laughter] well, we welcome you. >> senator schumer, i did know if you're going to get out of that immigration markup or not. >> a few minutes rest but it's welcome. [laughter] >> much more pleasant to be here. >> thank you. listen, i had just started but i don't know if you could break away. i just heard to introduce mr. pearce but i will yield to you for the purpose of introduction. >> thank you, mr. chairman, harkin and ranking member alexander, and all of my colleagues here today. i know you're pressed for time sal tried to be brief.
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i am so pleased to be able to introduce an esteemed attorney, a native of brooklyn, new york, my home borough, and they do some other end of our great state, a wonderful place called awful in new york and that is mark pearce to this committee. for some of you this is a reintroduction. president obama appointed mark to serve on the nlrb board and was confirmed i the full senate for a term ending august 27, 2013. after a year as member of the board mark was sworn in as its chairman and today i would ask the committee to approve his nomination so he can continue his important work and the board can be productive under his continued leadership. marked intellect, his experience, his dedication they cannocan not only an outstanding public servant, but also a tireless advocate for the issues he cared so much about. is unquestionable means for fair labor representation for union workers.
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before coming to washington, mark was a founding member of the buffalo, new york, law firm of creighton pearce johnson and thoreau. mark practice labor and employment law before state courts and agencies. he served by appointment as a governor on the nuke state and national board of appeal. and throughout his career he has represented individuals as well as public and private sector labor unions. in all matters involving employment and labor relations, including civil service, employment discrimination, collective bargaining contract compliance, arbitration, and law prosecution. mark as not just served on the board and in the courtroom, but he's been committed to helping next generation by working in the classroom. he taught at cornell university school of industrial labor relations. is a faux and and the college of labor and employment lawyers. so, mark, unquestionable dedication, experience and intelligence make him extremely qualified to serve on the nlrb and i recommend his nomination without reservation, and urge his swift confirmation.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator schumer, thank you very much for being here and appearing before this committee, and godspeed on immigration, okay? thank you very much, senator schumer. now i would call to the witness table our nominees. it would be from left to right, chairman pearce, mr. griffin, ms. block, mr. johnson, mr. miscimarra. at least that's how i was told to do that anyway. again, we welcome you all here to the committee. i again thank each and everyone of you for, as a lot of the
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introducers said, your willingness to serve on this very crucial and important independent board. we will start first and ask you to sum up your statement -- your statement will be made up part of the record in their entirety. i will ask you to sum up in five minutes or less a we can get into our it question and answer your. we will start with mr. pearce. welcome back to the committee. and please proceed as you so desire. >> thank you, chairman harkin, senator alexander, and members of the committee. it is a great honor to appear before you today as well as to be considered for another term as member of the national labor relations board. i am joined here by my wife, nancy, my daughter could not make it. i was born as senator schumer said, in brooklyn, one of five children. my parents, jamaican and cuban born immigrant, came tohe ia tht honest hard work, one can
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publish anything in this great country. my mother was a factory worker, and my father worked as a laborer and handyman. they saved, bought real estate, started small businesses, and turned their hopes into reality. although possessed of little formal schooling, my parents and their children that -- the importance of education. they lived to see me become a practicing attorney, ma and my mother proudly saw me confirmed as members of the national labor relations board. i graduated from high school in brooklyn, cornell university, and several of my college summers were spent working electrical construction as a college helper. the recent installation of the freedom tower in nix it reminded me that during two of the summers i had the amazing expense of working on the
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original twin towers. a monument to american labor and ingenuity that will not be forgotten. i received my law degree from the state university of new york and buffalo. and it was in buffalo, that great working-class city, where i fell in love with my wife, and with labor law, in that order. as a law student, i was assigned to the nlrb's buffalo regional office through the schools work study program at this experien experience, exposure was transforming. i saw that enforcement of the act, significant issues affecting workers, employers and unions were being addressed, and industrial peace was being obtained. i knew immediately that this is what i wanted to do. and this became the focus of my studies and my subsequent employment. i worked for 15 wonderful years in buffalo at the regional
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offices of field attorney and district on specials, enforcing the nation's primary labor law throughout the united states. i've eventually left the nlrb to go into private practice. i cofounded a bottle law firm specializing in labor and employment law. i practiced extensively before the national labor relations board and also represented clients before state and federal courts and agencies. i taught courses at cornell, and i served as a certified mediator for the united states district court of the western district of new york. mediation training became a valuable tool in my efforts at the board to seek common ground where there are divergent views. in 2010, i had the honor and privilege to be nominated, appointed and confirmed as a member of the national labor relations board. the very agency in which i
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started my career. the following year, i had the honor and privilege, that honor and privilege was even further heightened by being named chairman of the board. as chip in i have gained an even deeper appreciation for the work of the agency, and it's important to employees, employers and unions. in the last fiscal year alone, over 20,000 unfair labor practice charges were filed with the agency by members of the public. as a result of defective board enforcement of the act, more than 1200 workers were offered reinstatement, and over $44 million were recovered by employees in back bay and reimbursement of union fees, dues, or find. and during the same period the board process close to 2500 electric -- conducted more than 1500 representation elections, for a small agency, the board
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has touched the lives of many americans. for almost two years i've represented the agency as one of the leaders and principal spokespeople. i have embraced the responsibility as chip in, and i'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in this manner. if it pleases the senate, it would be my privilege to continue to serve on the board. i thank you for this opportunity to offer these remarks, and i welcome your questions. >> your timing is perfect, five minutes exactly. thanks. mr. griffin, welcome and please proceed. >> chairman harkin, senator -- chairman harkin, senator alexander and members of the committee, i am honored to appear before you today as the nominee for the national labor relations board. when i started as an noi the staff lawyer in 1981, i did not hope that such an opportunity, the pinnacle of any labor lawyer's career would be possible for me.
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i'm humbled by the opportunity to serve and greatly appreciate the confidence of the president obama expressed by nominating me. i'm joined by my wife, clare, my daughter and my son. it is impossible for me to express the full extent of my appreciation for my family's love and support. i also want to credit my parents, richard griffin senior and jane. they set the example which i've tried to immolate, set the example in the life which i've tried to immolate throughout mind. that work ethic, they're both ate and working more than full-time, my father is a lawyer, my mother is a research scientist, is a standard i can only aspire to. they are active engagement in numerous civic and professional activities in my hometown of buffalo, new york, has been an inspiration. i was educated in the catholic schools in buffalo, at deal university and at northeastern university school of law. during law school, to the
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school's unique co-op program i work for united auto workers in detroit and for small labor law firm in chicago. these experiences and for my desire to practice labor law. the field open up an opportunity of solving problems and making people's lives better that suited my interest and engaged my inability. after law school i went to work at the nlrb on the staff of board member john fanning. appointed by president eisenhower in 1967, mr. fanning is an nlrb alleging. he served 25 years as a board member. he truly believed in the national labor policies stated in section one of the act to encourage collective bargaining and to protect the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self organization and designation of representatives of their own choosing for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment, or for other prec great respect for the statutory principles was ingrained in me by the fine lawyers who worked
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for mr. fanning. i took what i learned from them to work for the new chairman, the new board chairman, when mr. fanning's term was up and our staff was reassigned. you would be hard-pressed to find any two board members who are farther apart on the ideological spectrum than mr. fanning and chairman dotson. yet i worked successfully for both of them and effect receive the exact same evaluation from both the and 1983 i went to work in the legal department of the international operating engineers and stay there for the next 28 years. i advise the officers and staff of the union on organizing representation issues, pension and health care issues, and internal government requirements. i also served for nine years as a union trustee on the operating engineers central pension fund, a very large joint interest fund where i work closer with the funds management to usher the pants.ment, sigir of the funds my last 17 years i was the
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union's general counsel. during that time i've represented an organization that in terms of assets, employees, and receipts was the equivalent of a midsize business enterprise. that was the legal issues that dollar for any such enterprise would face from property tax appeals to complying with the financial accounting standards board pronunciations. the union had responsibresponsib ilities as an employer to comply with all the laws governing employers as well as by the collective-bargaining agreements with several unions that represent the employees. these experiences as a staff lawyer at the in law become as a union law as a general counsel of a midsize enterprise gives me useful and ugly fairly unique perspective on the cases coming before the board. since my race is apartment i tried to bring that perspective to bear working with wonderful colleaguecolleague s, chairman pearce and member bloc, both of them bring their own broad range
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of labor law expenses as well as deep knowledge of the act to our deliberation. i've done so guided by the talent and expense career in a rb staff. there are no finer lawyers in government service than those working for the board. i hope to do so in the future with two new learned and capable colleagues, mr. miscimarra and harry johnson. if confirmed i pledge to work in partial into the best of my ability with my colleagues and the board's career staff to strike the appropriate balance between employee rights and managements interest that is the board central task. thank you very much for your consideration of my nomination. i look forward to your questio questions. >> thank you again. you guys are right on five minutes. i appreciate that. now we'll turn to ms. block. i remember not too long ago you used to sit right here. welcome back. >> into chairman harkin, senator alexander -- thank you, chairman
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harkin, senator alexander, and members of the committee. i am so honored to appear before you as a nominee for the national labor relations board. i usher you that i fully appreciate the seriousness of your task in accessing my fitness for the position for which the president has nominated me. as chairman harkin allude to, i spent a fair amount of time in this room sitting down senator kennedy when i served as senior labor of what accounts for the committee and sitting in what of the churches behind in my role as deputy assistant secretary of labor for congressional affairs when department witnesses testified here. and i welcome the same scrutiny of my nomination that a witness in this room of others. in watching the members of this committee do their work, i believe prepared me well for taking on the role of number of the national labor relations board. my experience working on the miner act for the committee has been particularly instructive for my tenure as a board member. i first came to work for senator kennedy in the wake of the terrible sago mine disaster.
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senators kennedy, enzi, murray and isaacson recognize the urgency of the need to protect american miners and got a deal done to improve mine safety. i learned from participate in those negotiations many important lessons. the value of considering the perspectives of all stakeholders, the necessity of finding practical solutions that do more than just sound good on paper, and the virtues of principles compromised. no senator involved in the negotiations got everything he or she wanted in the resulting legislation, but through your hard work, open dialogue and willingness to compromise, you achieved a great deal that has made a difference for workers and employers. and i tried to apply these lessons to my work as a board member. my service as a longtime career attorneys at the nlrb also has prepared me well for service as a board member. at the board i learned from the
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most talented and dedicated government attorneys how to represent the public interest. while i was fortunate to represent the poor in many high profile cases during my earlier tenure at the board, what made the biggest impact on me were the smaller cases. the cases where the parties had no interest in making law or engaging in ideological debate. instead, they are the cases where the board as a neutral adjudicated brings resolution to parties who just want to have their voices heard and their views fairly considered. and these are the kind of cases that dominate the boards docket today as in the past. the overwhelming majority of cases that i participated in as a board member serving with both democrats and republicans have been unanimous decisions that applied long-standing precedent. the importance of these cases cannot be overstated. it is through these cases that the board sows its mission of preserving industrial peace. we bring resolution and -- after
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being unlawfully discharged, and we affirm the right of an employer to move forward and running his or her business when the facts show that a genuine impasse in negotiations exists so that the collective bargaining process will and can continue. and as you know, chairman harkin alluded to, there s a private right of action under the act. so employees, employers and unions are dependent on the board to ensure that the system for resolving their disputes that congress created still work. so it's incumbent on us to move all cases as efficiently and fairly as possible. and in my experience on the board, again both with democrats or republicans can we're done in the spirit of collective spiritual do. i discuss every case with the career attorneys on my staff who have both management and labor experience. when i served as senior counsel to former board chairman, i always appreciated the french case discussion he not only allowed, but encouraged.
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and i don't continue that tradition with must have. they know as a former career attorney i will never underestimate the value of their conjugation. i would just like to add that being nominated and serving as a board and is the greatest honor of my professional life. i had been a public service almost all of my career, and the longest been has been as a career civil servant with the board. when i first came to the board as a staff attorney entering the 10 years i served in that role, i never dreamed that i would one day be a board member. but when the president asked me to serve, i was surprised, humbled, and in all. this nomination me so much to me because i believe the mission of the board means so much to the tradition of fairness and dignity in the american workplace, and i believe to fully confirm or is the best way to honor and support that important tradition but in closing i would like to thank two sets of people here who hbeg the past 17 months.
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first, my colleague mark pearce and richard griffin to the board has had no finer members and i'm so grateful for the experience of surfing with them. i would also like to thank my family who are here with me, my husband, kevin, my children, my parents, and my uncle, for all their love and support. thank you for the opportunity to offer these opening remarks, and i welcome your questions. >> thank you, ms. block and we should welcome you go to welcome all the members of your family also. mr. johnson, welcome again, and please proceed if you so desire. >> chairman harkin, ranking member alexander, and other members of this committee. thank you for the privilege of my being with you here today, and being able to meet with you, some of you previously, and your staff. i would like to thank senator dorgan for his extremely gracious introduction. i would like to thank president obama for the great honor of this nomination. and thanks, finally, to the folks sitting here with the of the table, the three democratic
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nominees and the other republican nominee for the own personal courtesy to me as we move through this post-nomination process together. i would also appreciate the brief privilege of introducing you to some people who are here with me today as well from my family. my wife, monica, sitting a few rows back over my right shoulder and has had an impressive career herself after graduate from harvard law school, she served as a lawyer and a mediator and then chose to stay home to create a home for our family. i couldn't be before you here today at this proceeding without her support. i would like to introduce you to our 10 year old daughter, sophia, and her eight year old daughter natalia come a few rows behind me again. both impresses students, hard-working athletes come and most importantly to us, young people with kind and generous hearts. i would like you to introduce you to my parents, retired who
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enlisted in the navy in which a concert on the u.s. as wisconsin as an electrician's mate and then as a physician in naval reserves for a total of 43 years of service. and my mother, jolene, lieutenant commander retired who serve in the navy nurse corps for 21 years. and, finally, my brother, dr. scott johns, accomplished economist came down here from boston today, and i had some friends, for my hometown of roanoke virginia. and i thank them. to the matter at hand, this is the second half of the most important job interview that i've ever had. confirmation by the senate is a crucial part of this process. and then the remaining time i have to give you a brief window into who i am and what i believe. i'm currently in private practice with the law firm founded in the district in 1942.
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my practice since i graduate from harvard law school in 1994 has been in employment law mostly representing companies from the very large to the very small. that is include a good deal traditional labor law including proceedings on their labor practice cases and in representation cases before the national labor relations board. in the end, however, what i just told you is merely a list of relevant qualifications and achievements. for nomination to the board at least just as important excellent day what i believe concerning the national labor relations act. the board is one of the oldest federal agencies, and thanks to the hard work of dedicated career staff serve an incredibly important and multifaceted role in our country and its free enterprise system. i believe in free enterprise, but we cannot have a free enterprise system without a system of labor law, just like we can't have a free enterprise system without proper law or
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contract law. i believe that the board must serve as an honest broker when it cites labor law cases and it should never pick winners or losers based on ideology rather than the law. in my mind the board should always remember that if good faith employers cannot operate because of a regulatory environment that suffocates the ability to great economic success, and it will not be jobs, they will not be employees, and ultimately there cannot be viable labor unions. and i think we would all be saddened and justifiably saddened at such a result. we cannot choose the times in which we live, and i did not choose the time back in july of last year when someone would call and asked me to serve my country in this capacity. if i could've chosen i would've preferred my potential serves on the board to come at a time when the agency was not enmeshed in profound constitutional and legal disagreement. but here we are, and here i am. because i said yes.
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if confirmed i would translate that yes into working as hard as i could to have a functioning for, for adjudicating the important issues that come before it. to paraphrase winston churchill, i can only give the american people my blood, toil, tears and sweat. and nearly two decades of failing experience. but if confirmed i will give you the full measure of all my efforts, and serving as guardian of the act and all it represents. thank you, and i look forward to answering all of your questions. >> thank you very much, mr. johnson. and no mr. miscimarra, again, welcome and please proceed. >> thank you. chairman harkin, ranking member alexander, and other committee members. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. senator alexander, thank you for your introduction. my wife, mary lincoln and my three sons, andrew, joseph and eric, are here today. also seated behind me. and i'm grateful to have their
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support. if unconfirmed they will be making their own sacrifice in interest of public service similar to the sacrifices made by your own family members. i also appreciate president obama's nomination. for a labor lawyer there's no higher honor than being considered for the national labor relations board. the board deals with rights that are important to nearly everyone. affecting whether and how people can work, supported families, or run successful businesses. with a big impact on communities and state and local governments. for me, these amendment abstract concepts. i grew up in pittsburgh, pennsylvania. my father was the son of italian immigrants and he worked for the city of pittsburgh. my brother spent a summer working in a steel mill. i began work at age 14 as a candy. i worked in the movie theater. then i got a job at the local carnegie library in pittsburgh. for many years i worked as a musician represented by local 6471 of the american federation of learned firsthand about keeping an open mind
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regarding labor-management issues. at one point my mother was a number of the pittsburgh public school board. my older sister, pat, while living at home was a pittsburgh public school teacher who participated in a 57 day strike that kept 62000 students from going to school. and the affected students included my younger sister, julie, whose high school graduation was jeopardized by the dispute. the teachers picketed every day. some teachers, my older sister's friends, regularly came to our house. they put their picket signs outside with the science facing the street, anybody came inside where my mother, invariably, made him breakfast or serve them coffee in the kitchen. everybody was treated with respect. and nobody was forced to abandon their very different strongly held opinions. and i've applied the same
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principles while representing employers and dealing with unions and employees for 30 years. post under and working to foster constructive relationships with opposing counsel in unions. i have lived in the chicago area for most of my career. since 2005 as a partner with morgan, lewis. i've also had the good fortune of being affiliated over three decades with the senate for human resources at the university of pennsylvania's wharton school of business in pennsylvania. if i'm confirmed three things that got my service on the board. first, i have great respect for the years of work done by congress and by this committee which produced a national labor relations act including the animistic it can from opera member that labor law policy originates with congress, not with members of the nlrb. second, board members come and go. but if confirmed i will do everything i can to recognize the board to mini cooper fresh and and staff members who do much of the boards hard work and
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contribute so much in the public service. finally, labor lawyers operate in a world where it can be difficult to find common ground. i embrace the reality that parties and often board members can have sharp disagreements and strongly held views. former chairman john fanning stated the one factor every nlrb case hasn' has income is the pre of at least two people who see things completely different. i respect everyone who has have served or is willing to serve on the board, regarding some policy issues, my fellow nominees and i may not always agree. if confirmed, i will approach every decision with an open mind. i will share my opinions in a constructive way. i will try to forge an agreement with fellow board members, and i will be open to different views. above everything else i will do my best to discharge the responsibility placed on every nlrb member, which is to apply the law as written consistent with what congress intended. i recognize the senate and this
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committee must carefully evaluate every nominee come and that includes myself. it's a privilege to be here. i look forward to the committee's questions. thank you. >> thank you, mr. miscimarra, and welcome you and your family members who are all. also. thank you. i think just listen to all of you and reading a testament i think it is fair we did come every single one of you is eminently qualified for this position. no doubt in my mind. we will start a series of five minutes of questions. my first question is to mr. pitts. i want to ask despite the boards important despite the boards and portal increasing at such a piece i just discussed and others have discussed, it's, under increasing attack under the last seven years. most recently, concerns and raised about the legitimacy of the national labor relations board continue operation following the d.c. circuit court decision in the canning case. while the d.c. circuit itself acknowledged that its decision in this matter was in conflict with three other circuit courts
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of appeals, and despite the fact that the case has been a pill to the supreme court, some of my colleagues have argued that the board should have shut down in the wake of the decision. so chairman pearce, why do you kill the board can continue to operate after that decision was issued. >> [inaudible] >> thank you, chairman. in addition to the points that you have made, there is also the fact that historically the nlrb has functioned in the wake of constitutional challenges. we were born of controversy. in 1935-1937, our legitimacy was challenged in the courts. we continued to function. when the supreme court finally decided the issue, we still had managed to serve the public. but most importantly, we owe it to the public to continue to work.
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every day the board provides a forum for workers, employees, employers, and unions to come forward and to air their issues. this forum insures that economic security is provided and protected from industrial unrest. there is no private right of action as chairman has said very many times. the nlrb is the only forum. it's the only course that a lot of people have. the statute of limitations for unfair labor practices continue to run. obligations under the national labor relations act are not suspended while litigation goes on over the issue of whether or not the board's composition is correct. and such issues hold no
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confidence for a person who has lost their job because they wanted to join a union, and they are about to lose their home. -- >> continue to watch visit online at c-span.org. we're going live now to capitol hill as the u.s. senate is aboui the gavel in beginning today with the generaln speeches. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, you don't disappoint those who look to you in faith. guide our lawmakers by your truth and instruct them with your wisdom. lord, lead them to do what is right and to stay on your path. keep them from being intimidated by the many challenges they
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face, knowing that your grace is sufficient for every need. may they be true to you, living so that their words and actions will receive your approval. help them to live this day with a sense of accountability to you. we pray in your merciful name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, may 16, 2013. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable brian schatz, a senator from the state of hawaii, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks, the senate will be in executive session considering the nomination of ernest moniz to be energy secretary. there will be up to three hours of debate on the nomination. at about 2:00 p.m., there will be a roll call vote on confirmation of that nomination. mr. president, for months my republican colleagues argued that the obama administration is engaged in a cover-up regarding the tra tragic events surroundig the attack on the consulate in
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benghazi. the administration provided congress over 100 pages of e-mails following that attack in libya during closed-door sessions. the e-mails proved there was no cover-up. yet the republicans claim the white house was hiding the truth. yesterday the administration released even more e-mails to the public. this is the latest effort by the administration to ensure transparency for the media and the public regarding this awful attack on americans. this new information came out for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that we know the press corps spent most of last week chasing a story based on an e-mail that didn't exist, was i if a bring quated fabrican aide and then reported as fact. it is a sad commentary that the
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republicans are so dead-set in impaiembarrassing the presidentt they would actually lie to a news organization about the contents of an e-mail and let the news organization report their lies as facts. the attack on benghazi was an issue of life and death. we should be focused on bringing the terrorists who committed this act to justice. i hope the media will realize they were fed a false set of goods and be more skeptical next time. an another subject, mr. president, six short years ago the prospects for a bipartisan solution to america's broken immigration system seemed bleak. dedespite support from congressional democrats and a
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republican president, an immigration reform proposal that had been defeated on a -- let's say that again, mr. president. despite support from congressional democrats and a republican president, we couldn't enough republicans in the senate to move forward on a reform proposal that had been defeated, i repeat, mr. president, on a procedural vote here in the senate. but one man, who was a longtime member of the judiciary committee and had been chairman of the immigration subcommittee -- immigration for decades -- senator ted kennedy, remoonedded us all that -- remiewnded us all that the reform for which he fought so hard would pass someday. that day qu could not be far off much this is what he said when that bill with was defeated. ot --amer "a as its problems,
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expand its frontiers and move closer to its ideals. it is not always easy, but it is an american storks it is an american way. i believe we will soon succeed where we failed today and we will enact the kind of reform that our ideals and national security demand." ted kennedy stayed in 2007 -- said that in 2007. he always spoke from back here. i can still hear his booming voice. i can hear him saying this. our friend ted kennedy was right. i believe the time for commonsense immigration reform thahas come. i'm sorry that senator kennedy is not alive to see the widespread, bipartisan support of the legislation being considered today in the judiciary committee, legislation that i will shortly bring before the full senate. senator kennedy would be very satisfied with the efforts of
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the gang of eight -- four democrats and four republicans. even though ted kennedy was known as one of america's great progressives, his legacy is that he worked with liberals, conservatives independentand independents. he worked to get things done. that's what the gang of eight has done. this gang of eight has done it in addressing a critical issue facing our nation. and he would applaud the diligent work of the is that the judiciary committee under the leadership of his longtime friend -- stherved together in that committee -- they served together in that committee for, oh, gee, it must be four decades, mr. president. kennedy and leahy, they did a lot of work together. and senator leahy has done so
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much in his comet committe commt he's done to refine the proposal. so it's gratifying to see the momentum behind the legislation that will help 11 million undocumented immigrants get right with the law. although neither republicans nor democrats will support each and every proposal and aspect of this legislation, it's reassuring to see the diverse coalition that has formed in support of real reform, commonsense reform, reform that improves our dysfunctional legal immigration system, reform that continues to secure our borders, refor the purpose that requires 11 million undocumented people to pass a criminal background check, pay fines, taxes, start on the path to earn citizenship. you can't do this piecemeal and we can't do it without a pathway to earned citizenship. a thorough and open process under way in the judiciary committee is exemplary of how the senate should work. so far the committee has
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considered 62 amendments to the original proposal, some from democrats and some from republicans. in fact, the committee has adopted 12 republican amendments, including measures to strengthen the border, improve our legal immigration system. the senate completed work on important water resource legislations today. there was a lot going on in the senate -- i'm sorry, they completed that work yesterday, mr. president. and we're going to begin now consideration of a crucial piece of legislation dealing with agriculture. i commend and applaud the chairman of that committee, debbie stab a numbe stabenow. she is really a good legislator. they got that bill out of that committee in a very quick. -- in a very quick fashion. so, i repeat, i admire what she has done and she also has a new
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ranking member there, the senator from mississippi, a fine man and a good legislator. as i've said, as soon as it's ready, i'm going to bring that immigration legislation to the floor. we're going it start on the farm bill monday. i'm going to bring the immigration bill to the floor regardless of whether we have committed action on the farm bill. although immigration is a complex and controversial issue that deserves ample time for thoughtful debate and consideration, it's also too important to delay action any longer. as the senator from nevada and a father-in-law who was born in russia emigrated to the united states, i've witnessed firsthand our broken immigration system. i've seen the heartbreak that it's caused for families. this issue is very personal for
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me. it's very personal to every immigrant family striving to build a better life in america. the time has come for permanent solutions that are tough but fair, solutions that fix our broken immigration system. solutions that punish unscrupulous employers that drag down wages for every american in america, solutions that help get things right with the law, solutions that help immigrants contribute to the community. i will do everything to get this bill to become law. i am certain that the time is right. it is the kind of comprehensive reform that our ideals and national security demand. mr. president, would you announce the work here in the senate today. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved.
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under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination:, department of energy, ernest j. moniz of massachusetts to be secretary. undethe presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be three hours of debate to be equally divided in the usual form. mr. reid: mr. president, we're going to -- i'm going 0 as to ar a quorum. i withdraw that. when the leader finishes his time, mr. president -- the republican leader, i would as, e quorum call is made, that the time be equally divided between the two sides. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president, are we in a quorum call in. the presiding officer: we are not. symbolic step in accepting the
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resignation of acting i.r.s. commissioner miller. i had called for this resignation on monday when we learned thatler signed his name to one, if not more, letters that we now know couldn't possibly have been truthful, couldn't possibly have been truthful. but let's be clear. this symbolic step was just that, symbolic. what americans want right now are answers about what happened at i.r.s., why it wasn't disclosed earlier, who was ultimately accountable for this behavior, and assurances that this kind of thing isn't going to go on at the i.r.s. or anywhere else in the federal government. because the allegations of ideological targeting only continue to multiply. they're continuing to multiply. this morning i'd like to focus on just one of those incidents. it's the case of a group called the national organization for
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marriage. last may senator hatch, a top republican on the finance committee, sent a letter to the i.r.s. quirin inquiring about rs that someone -- someone -- at the i.r.s. had leaked confidential donor information from t national organization for marriage to an advocacy group whose goals were in direct conflict with its own. n.a.m. suggesting these documents came from one source, from within the i.r.s. itself. all this took place, by the way, in the middle of a national political campaign. significantly, one of n.a.m.'s donors whose name was leaked was none other than mitt romney. what a coincidence. and what about the group it was leaked to? well, it was headed by a guy who was named a national cochair of the obama campaign and who
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published the confidential donor information on the web site of the organization he ran, an organization opposed to the goals of n.a.m. so here's another situation at the very least clearly merits investigation. there are allegations here someone at the i.r.s. committed a very serious crime that had the effect of chilling the speech of a political organization that happened to be on the wrong side of the current administration. yet a year later, senator hatch has yet to hear anything back from the i.r.s. and according to the folks at n.a.m., neither have they. last year, the people at n.a.m. say they brought their concerns about this potentially illegal activity to the i.r.s. and the
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justice department. they say they even hired a forensics specialist to prove that the document that was leaked had originated right at the i.r.s. according to n.a.m., the forensic guy knew the document came from the i.r.s. because it bore a watermark distinctive to the agency and they say they had to hire him -- get this -- because the i.r.s. asked n.a.m. if they had leaked the information themselves. how about that? so they say they provided evidence to show that they hadn't leaked it themselves and then earlier this year asked the i.r.s. to release all the information about their complaint, which it had apparently reached a complete dead end over at the i.r.s. and here's what they sayack.
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crickets. they said they haven't heard a ching from the i.r.s. or the d.o.j. about this potentially illegal breach of their confidential donor information even as they poured significant resources of their own into the investigation and according to them seen some of their supporters scared off. think about that. the i.r.s. hasn't had the time to respond to this group or to the finance committee, for that matter, a full year after their confidential donor information appears to have been leaked from inside the i.r.s. to one of n.a.m.'s ideological opponents. but when the liberal group propublica requested confidential information about conservative groups, the i.r.s. got right back to these folks with the information they wanted in about two weeks. two weeks. this is exactly the kind of thing i've been warning about for more than a year. here's a group with an agenda
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that runs counter to that of the administration. somebody over at i.r.s. gets a hold of their donor list and leaks it to their opponents. why? so anybody who thinks about supporting them thinks twice. that's why. this is what government intimidation and harassment looks like, my colleagues. it's completely unacceptable. and the idea that you've got to move heaven and earth to get somebody in the federal government to lift a finger get to the bottom of it is a genuine outrage. this is the kind of thing that people should be tripping over themselves to resolve. yet senator hatch is still waiting on a response to a letter he cents to the i.r.s. commissioner last may.
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no one should be intimidated by the government into shutting us up as part of our political process. and that's why the republican members of the finance committee are sending a letter today to the treasury's inspector general for tax administration requesting investigation into this very issue. because without this sort of inquiry we may never have confirmed the inappropriate harassment of conservative groups that was going on at the i.r.s. for two years. two years. apparently this is the only way to get this administration to take responsibility for its actions. well, we're determined to do that because this is a very dangerous precedent being set here. i'll say it again. americans, be they conservative or liberal, should be free to
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participate in the political process without fear of harassment or intimidation from their very own government. now, mr. president, on another matter, i would also like to note that last month the secretary of energy nominee, dr. ernest moniz, was cleared by the senate energy and natural resources committee with robust bipartisan support. the full senate will likely vote on this nomination today. a number of my colleagues and i are optimistic about dr. moniz's rag prag matich approach to solving america's energy challenges. in particular, i look forward to working with him on finding a sustainable long-term solution for the paducah gaseous fusion plant a facility that benefits our country, its community and the many dedicated workers who work there. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: the nomination of dr. ernest moniz to head the department of energy is now the pending business here in the senate, and i would like to discuss the nomination. i note my friend and colleague, senator murkowski, is here. both of us will just take a short amount of time to discuss dr. moniz's qualifications, and i would urge colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the nomination of dr. ernest moniz to serve as the secretary of energy. in my view, dr. moniz is smart about energy policy, he is savvy about how the department of energy operates, and he is solution-oriented, which is what democrats and republicans
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on the senate energy and natural resources committee saw when he was before our committee to consider his nomination. now, i'm going to talk about why i believe dr. moniz is well qualified to spearhead our efforts to evolve our country's energy system, to increase domestic resources, he'll it less carbon and bolster our economy. first, though, i'd like to talk just a few minutes about the job that dr. moniz will be stepping into once he is confirmed. right now the energy department is at the center of issues that are hugely cons sequential -- consequential to our economy and the environment. about how to manage reserves of natural gas, combat climate change and make our economy more efficient. and certainly front and center is how on a bipartisan approach
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we can support the development of new energy technologies. i believe our country needs that kind of energy to transition to a lower-carbon economy. and it's built on three pillars. strong economic growth, shrinking our carbon footprint, and spurring energy innovation. what is unique about this moment is now on the issue of energy our country is truly in a position of strength. historically, lawmakers have avoided energy issues until there's a short-term crisis. usually that crisis is a spike in the price of gasoline. then, as we know, there is a big hue and cry to pass a comprehensive energy bill. we kind of put that in quotes, mr. president. and it ends up being, quote, comprehensive and still lasts a
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relatively short period of time, maybe a year and a half or two years until there is another hue and cry to pass yet one more comprehensive bill. right now the congress and the executive branch, the energy department, are in a rare position, a position where we can make policy at time when our country does not face those kinds of short-term calamities. now, i say that in no way minimizing the extraordinary challenge of climate change. that is my view -- in my view, a potential catastrophe that demands real and immediate action. it is something that cannot be ducked, cannot be ignored. on energy the usual calculus has been flipped on its head. new technologies have unlocked massive supplies of natural gas as well as new os. at the same time, thanks to a combination of improved
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efficiency, increased renewable power generation, and the rise of affordable natural gas supplies, our carbon emissions actually fell recently. a decade ago no one dreamed of either of those facts. so one one of the most immediate issues that will face dr. ernest moniz, if he is confidenc confidence, r country can maximize natural gas. natural gas provides our country right now with a competitive economic advantage. the reality is, all over the world, mr. president, others want our gas. they want what we have. our competitors in europe and asia, whose costs are four, five times as high as our manufacturers. i think it is obvious this is also a national security advantage to be able to rely on our own energy resources instead of the sources that come from unstable parts of the world that
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certainly don't get up every day wishing the united states well. i was encouraged by the commitment dr. moniz made to me to use the best, most recent data to look at questions like how building natural gas export terminals are going to affect the areas adjacent to those facilities as well as the larger american economy. from my experience working with dr. moniz, i think he is more than up to the big challenges our country faces as we deal with this historic transition in our energy sector. he knows how the department works from the inside, and he knows it because he actually has experience there. his background as a well-respected scientists, i'm confident that he will use the best data in considering the key policy issues. he's shownes a going to take an independent, data-driven
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approach as a professor at m.i.t. and director of the energy initiative. and there they have led numerous cutting-edge studies on a range of energy issues. now, mr. president, in one sense the department of energy really ought to be called the department of innovation. one of the bright lights there is the advanced research projects agency, what is called arpa-e, which funds research with the potential to produce major breakthroughs in energy technology. it was authorized in 2005, and it was dr. mo moniz moniz's pre, secretary chu, who oversaw the first projects there and to his credit he was an important champion for that agency in its early days. one of the dozens of efforts that were supported by arpa-e, for example is a project at the university of north dakota that
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aims to reduce water usage at power plants. according to the department of energy, the university is testing an air-cooled absorbent liquid that retains and releases liquid that could result in minute water loss. i think it would be fair to say, mr. president, you could put together a pretty impressive filibuster if you wanted to just describe the various types of research going on or the research that's funded by the department. they're leading research into a number of theirs our country needs to continue to work on, if we are to achieve that objective that i have staked out, and that is to secure a lower carbon economy. energy efficiency, the lowest way to cut emissions, is going to be a big part of the department's mission in the next four years. our committee is moving ahead in that area, starting with yet
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another bipartisan bill, a bipartisan bill, mr. president -- the shaheen-portman legislation -- that in my view is really the standard-bearer now for energy-efficient legislation. we passed it out of the committee with broad, bipartisan support, and i hope it will come to the floor of the united states senate very soon. the department is also doing important work on carbon capture, carbon sequestration, and utilization, trapping emissions from fossil fuel operations and storing them underground to reduce the impact to our climate. the chair of our pu public lands committee has a great interest in this particular eared and dr. moniz to his credit has said that this is an area that deserves a significant a attention. -- amount of attention. d.o.e. research sha's shown that natural gas and renewables are not exclusive. the country does not have to choose between the two.
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natural gas plants, in my have you, make great partners for intermittent renewables like wind and solar because they can fire up and power down quickly. that's a very important part of our future energy agenda. we want to have more wind and solar. we know they're intermittent sources. so some of the challenges -- the president of the senate knows -- is about how to find innovative approaches to storage and looking at natural gas to help us get wind and solar in our baseload power structure. so this is an important issue with renewables als. also benefiting, natural gas. the pacific northwest lab in oregon is going to assume, test the project, use solar energy to make natural gas plants 20% more efficient. now, i'm not going to pretend to know everything about engineering, but i think it is
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worth noting that "the new york times" said earlier this month that that idea -- the idea that's being explored in richland, oar or oregon, would t natural gas and break open the natural gas molecules. the result would create something called synthetic gas that burns more efficiently than natural gas alone. this would give you more energy for every molecule of gas burned, which means lower cost and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. this is just one of many projects the department is backing. i'm not sure which are going to ultimately pan out. but the potential for breakthroughs, like the one i've described, are exactly why it's so important for the energy department to have a broad research portfolio. our country's competitors aren't sitting back and waiting for our country to do all of the world's innovation. china, germany, and others are pouring resources into r&d to
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try and get an advantage, and fact that we have our energy department on the front lines of this fight to show the world how to innovate is a huge american asset. finally, a significant portion of the energy department's budget goes into an office that's described as environmental management, and which essentially means cleaning up america's radioactive nuclear waste. there are 17 active sites the department is currently cleaning up, including the hanford site in southeastern, washington. whistle-blowers and independent watchdogs have identified some troubling problems with how waste is stored at hanford including the potential for hydrogen to build up and explode in several waste tanks. they've also identified several design problems, another matter that must be solved. people who live near hanford
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received some welcome assurances from the hearing with dr. mow nez. we brought some of these issues up where dr. moniz said that the status question with respect to the department of energy on hanford is not acceptable. i look forward to working with them on that long-term solution. finally, mr. president, i think it is fair to say that dr. moniz -- and it is appropriate to close with this -- has a long track record of collaboration. that's why i mentioned early on that he showed at his confirmation hearing and he showed democrats and lean repubs alike that he is solution-oriented and collaborative on the difficult questions that are ahead. he brings that scientific credibility that i've outlined with real-world policy experience that is so important to managing a federal agency. mr. president, based on the
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bipartisan support my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have expressed for dr. moniz in a usually gridlocked congress, i feel like c-span almost ought to put out a warning to viewers not to adjust their television, because this really is how the united states senate ought to be working. one of the reasons that we've had the bipartisan approach on energy issues that i've been discussing and was demonstrated again this morning in the energy committee, is my friend and colleague, senator murkowski consistently meets me at least halfway, often more, on these big issues. and i just want to thank her for that cooperation on the moniz nomination and many other matters. and, mr. president, i look forward to senator murkowski's comments. i see other colleagues here who may wish to speak at this time, and i would yield the floor. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president,
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i appreciate the opportunity to follow my friend and colleague, senator wyden from oregon, the chairman of the energy committee to speak today about the confirmation of dr. ernest moniz to be our nation's secretary of energy. and i think it is good when we are able to stand as the chairman and the ranking member and really come to terms of agreement as -- in ow insofar as support for an individual, for a position such as secretary of energy, an important position within this administration, an important position just from the perspective of how we move forward in this country dealing with our energy issues, dealing with our energy future, which i think is where we get relatively enthusiastic about this nomination. so i'd like to thank our
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chairman, the chairman of the energy and natural resources, my friend from oregon for his leadership in advancing the nomination to the finish line. i also want to recognize and thank the members of our committee for their very thoughtful questions. when we had dr. moniz before the committee, it was perhaps one of the smoother confirmation hearings that we have had in quite sometime, and i also thank the full senate for working with us so that we can fulfill our constitutional responsibility for advice and consent here today. and before i speak to senator -- or, excuse me, dr. moni moniz's confirmations -- and i do think that senator wyden has addressed those very well -- i'd like to take just a moment to discuss the agency that he will soon lead. the department of energy was created back in 1977. this was just following the oil embargo that caused the gasoline shortages that we saw around the
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country. and the architects -- those who put together the contours of d.o.e. -- were serving a very different energy land -- surveying a very different energy landscape than what we face today. back in 197 energ77, energy wasd from the position of scarcity rather than the abundance that we recognize today. and those architects, as they defined what a department of energy would look like, what it would hope to achieve, the mission set there they had some pretty high hopes for what the department would accomplish. and i think what you need to go to is you look back to that organic act which states that d.o.e. would -- quote -- "promote the general welfare by assuring coordinated and effective administration of federal energy policy and programs." pretty simple. and that same act goeso list 18 different purposes, a few of which bear repeating.
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one of them is to assure to the maximum extent practicable that the productive capacity of privateenprivate enterprise shad in the development of the policieds and purposes of the act. another one is to provide for the cooperation of federal, state, and local governments in the development and implementation of natural energy policies and programs and then a third purpose is to carry out the planning, coordination, support, and management of a balanced and comprehensive energy research and development program. so looking back then at d.o.e.'s creation is a reminder, really, of how far we have come and yet how far we still have to go in achieving these various purposes that were set out in that organic act. today the department is a major
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department, has a budget of more than $25 billion each year, thousands of scientists work on cutting-edge technologies at our national labs as they look for breakthroughs and managing our nuclear weapons programs. and yet more than three decades later, it would be difficult to find many who truly believe that we have achieved this coordinated and effective administration of federal energy policy. in fact, you're going to have some who would disagree as to whether or not we have developed a federal energy policy that adequately serves our national needs. instead, we have seen energy-related programs and initiatives that are fragmented and scattered throughout the federal government. not enough money, in my view, is getting to the bench for research and development, a critical aspect of how we build out that energy policy, a
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critical pon of how we move -- a crit cal component of how we ford towards our future. al too orb it appears we have silos that stand in the way of progress. in recent years i've become concerned that d.o.e. is not clearly an unambiguously working to keep energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure, principles that i think really go into defining a good, strong federal energy policy. as i see it, d.o.e. in particular must be a stronger voice in the counsels of this administration for energy supply. and in light of several costly failures, the department must become a better steward of taxpayer dollars. so all of these -- these challenges and more will be inherited by our next secretary of energy. but along with the challenges i think we recognize there are
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great opportunities within the energy sector. and that's why i believe that we will do well to place dr. ernie moniz, who is clearly a man with talent and experience in both the laboratory and in public policy making, i think we will do well to place him at the helm of this department. dr. moniz has some pretty impressive credentials, ease a physicist, he graduated from boston college before completing his ph.d. at stanford. he served in the white house office of science and technology policy and as an undersecretary at the department of energy during the late 1990's. for the vast majority of his career he's also served as the director of the m.i.t. energy initiative. he has studied and written about nuclear energy, natural gas, innovation, really any number of topics that would have direct relevance for the future ofur so he has -- he has both. he has the academic experience,
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most certainly, as we see at m.i.t. and at stanford, but he's also got that practical application. my colleague from oregon has described him as solution oriented, and i think that that is a very apt description. he is an improve nominee. in -- impressive nominee. in our meetings where it's nice and casual and relaxed and you can have a pretty good conversation, i was very impressed with not only dr. moniz's just background and experience but how he views moving forward within the department of energy. there is a level of just comfortable confidence that i found encouraging. he has shown that he understands what his job requires, and that -- because of that i
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believe he will be a capable secretary. he's knowledgeable, he's confidence --, he's competent and refreshingly candid. i kind of challenged him in the confirmation hearing before the energy committee to keep that up. don't be afraid to speak out, to be refreshingly candid. i think that's good advice. he's proof that the senate's confirmation process can be navigated successfully. without undue delay. as long as questions are answered and concerns that were raised by members were taken seriously. i think he did attempt to do that. it is my hope that after his confirmation dr. moniz will guide our nation's energy policy as the respected scientist that he is and do so rigorously, robustly, free of preordained conclusions and again not afraid
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to speak up or to speak his mind. his department will benefit and i think the country will as well. i've indicated in my comments that i think the department of energy needs good, strong direction, it needs that leadership and i believe that dr. moniz will provide both. that's why i am supporting his nomination and why i ask my colleagues here in the senate to join me in voting to confirm him later this afternoon. mr. president, i note that my colleague from new jersey is here. i do have some comments that i would like to make about the arctic council meeting but i would certainly defer to my friend from new jersey for his comments this morning. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: i want to thank the distinguished ranking member for her courtesy and i do intend to support this nominee for all the reasons that the chairman,
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the distinguished chairman has said, but i rise at this moment as chairman of senate foreign relations committee, outraged at the implication that we in the senate have have not done enough to investigate what has happened in benghazi, that we have not investigated it thoroughly, that we have not looked at the details, have not analyzed the information, classified and unclassified, that has come before us. the committee has held four hearings, four, on the attack on special mission benghazi. the very first hearing i chaired in january was on this topic with secretary clinton. in fact, we postponed the nomination of senator kerry so secretary clinton could tell us what happened and why despite her medical condition at the time. let's make that very clear. one of the very first things we did despite a pending nomination of a new secretary and the
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sitting secretary's medical concerns was to hold a hearing on this topic and air the facts. prior to that, chairman kerry held a hearing of the committee on december 20 on the events that transpired in benghazi with sent secretaries burns and nides. there were also two classified briefings in december, specifically on the circumstances surrounding the attack. the december 13 briefing included a video of the attack with high-level officials from state, the joint staff, defense department, the f.b.i., and the intelligence community. patrick kennedy, the undersecretary of state for management and state, matthew olson, the national counterterrorism senator, the vice director of operations of joint staff, gary reed, the, and jenny lay, the assistant director at the f.b.i. on december 19 there was a
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high-level classified briefing with the accountability review board with ambassador pickering and admiral mullen. at his nomination hearing in january, senator kerry fully addressed this issue and again at the annual budget hearing this past april. last week the nominee to be our new ambassador to libya, deborah kay jones testified before the full committee, another opportunity for my friends on the other side to ask questions, to get the truth, not create their own truth for political purposes. that hearing was yet another opportunity to ask questions about the security situation on the ground. and yet republican participation was limited to just a handful of members. we have fully vetted this issue. we have held hearing after hearing. we have on both sides had the opportunity to have our questions answered. in fact, in total between the house and the senate, there
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have been 11 hearings on benghazi. 25,000 pages of documents released, and now full email history of the interagency process. our focus now should not be on the work product of the c.i.a. or state on draft talking points we've seen in hundreds of emails released by the white house yesterday. it should not be to score political points at the expense of the families of the four victims. it should be on doing all we can to protect our personnel serving overseas and provide the necessary oversight and legislative authority to carry out the administrative review board's recommendations. i would remind my friends and the american people nothing has changed. the facts remn today as they were in september, in october,
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in november, in december, and january. it's the rhetoric and the political cal calculus that has chaiptiond. in fact, the emails released by the white house further demonstrate that point. the original c.i.a. produced talking points notably produced by a request by the house intelligence committee for media interviews clearly show that in the days immediately after the attack the intelligence committee was not sure what exactly happened or who was responsible. the points produced by the c.i.a. said the agency's belief that the events in benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the u.s. embassy in cairo and evolved into a direct assault on the diplomatic post in benghazi and subsequently its annex, that point, that point stays in the talking points from begin to end of the interagency
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process. we have no debate and it is conveyed to the house intelligence committee. throughout the email discussions, the agency makes clear that their information is limited and that there is a lot they simply don't know. in fact, the national counterterrorism center says in one email -- quote -- "at this point we are not aware of any actionable intelligence that this attack was planned or imminent. the intelligence community is combing through reporting from before and after the attack to determine the full extent of who was involved" -- end of quote. it became clear over time that this was, in fact, a calculated terrorist attack but there was no political calculation involved in the initial assessment. so let's be honest about what's happening here. it's not about doing all we can to find the truth and making sure it never happens again. it's about political
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gamesmanship and finding someone to blame. i would remind my friends and the american people that, again, nothing has changed. they want to make this a political issue to drive a purely political agenda. but i believe our real focus, our honest focus, what the american people truly care about is the security of our missions and the safety of our personnel, and that has been and will remain the clear focus of the foreign relations committee going forward and i hope that we will have the support of our republican colleagues. in my view, the monday morning quarterbacking on this issue is politically driven. a perspective shared by former republican defense secretary gates who said on sunday, frankly, my decisions would be just as theirs with regard to sending in special forces teams or overflights from aircraft based in italy. secretary gates said -- quote -- "without knowing what the
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environment is, what the threats are, without having intelligence in terms of what was going on on the ground would have been very dangerous." i think we have common interests here. i have been working hard to ensure full implementation of all 29 recommendations made by the administrative review board, recommendations that ensure going forward we are providing adequate personnel and resources to meet local conditions at more than 280 facilities in over 180 countries around the world, specifically where host nations are unable to provide the adequate protection to our diplomats. and i call on our republican colleagues to join us in that effort. today i am introducing legislation. i hope we will be able to count on the support of all of our colleagues to enact this crucial, time-sensitive legislation without delay, without obstruction, without political grandstanding.
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the bill will provide authority to fund the capital security cost sharing program to permit us to move forward with construction at high-risk, high-threat post it "posts." this was created following the bombings in kenya and tanzania and would allow us to construct eight to ten facilities a year. but the way it is funded, it is funding just two to three facilities per year despite the fact there are at least two dozen posts that fall into that high-risk, high-threat category. at that rate it will take us over eight years to get around to construction at posts at just the highest risk of attack. it authorizes funding for arabic language training and for a training center to train diplomatic security personnel. it provides contract authority to the state department to allow
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it to award contracts on a best value basis rather than to the lowest bidder where conditions require enhanced levels of security. at the administration's request the bill will authorize disciplinary action in cases of unsatisfactory leadership by senior officials related to a security incident that does not presently exist. this will allow appropriate disciplinary action to be be taken against any future official in a circumstance like benghazi. it inch incorporates marine guards at overseas facilities and requires reporting on state's implementation of the review board's recommendations and on the designation of high-risk, high-threat posts. i hope that we can work together to do what has to be done to protect those who serve this nation abroad. if you want to address the problem, we have an opportunity
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to do it. if you want to score political points, fine. but do not do it at the risk of american lives. let's work together to fix the problem, not use it for political advantage. with that, madam president, i yield the floor.and i observe ta quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:

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